Khaya’s Weekend Guide to hiking in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is rich in cultural heritage and gives you a unique perspective into the Eastern Cape’s exceptional and amazing past.  

Many historical and important figures come from Port Elizabeth or now known as Nelson Mandela Bay. These include Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki (father of Thabo Mbeki), Athol Fugard who was a famous playwright and filmmaker, and many more.  

Sightseeing, and activities form an integral part of your volunteer trip abroad. Port Elizabeth has some great volunteer programs, and it's a great place to visit! To introduce you to our amazing city and to give you a taste of one of the many ways in which you can spend your time, we have put together a weekend guide to hiking trails in Port Elizabeth.

1. The Sacramento Hiking Trail

sacramento trail

This trail in Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve is about 8km. It starts at the cannon at the west end of Schoenmakerskop and follows the coastline of stunning Sardinia Bay beach with lots of vegetation,as well rockpools which you can stop at and have a swim.  Dolphins and gannets can also be spotted along the trail.  The trail is about three hours, relatively easy brisk walk with some rocks in-between.  There are also high sand dunes and you can decide how far you actually want to walk.   

Find it on Google Maps!

2. The Roseate Tern Hiking Trail

roseate tern trail

Starting at the Cape Recife Nature Reserve, the walk is about 9km and takes about 5 hours.  This hike is not difficult at all and is one of the best and most picturesque walks in Port Elizabeth.  There is a small fee involved but you will also get the opportunity to visit SANCCOB to see the penguins.  Cape Recife Nature Reserve is regarded as one of the best bird watching spots in the Port Elizabeth.    You will get to explore Port Elizabeth’s beautiful beaches and experience a stunning view of the Bay.  

Find it on Google Maps!

3. The Lower Guinea Fowl Hiking Trail

guinea fowl trail

This interesting trail starts at the dip in Third Avenue, Newton Park, and goes along the Baakens River down to Settlers Park and Brickmakers Kloof.  The walk is about 7.5 km and is great for bird watching.  You will see a variety of wild flowers, trees and lilies.  And if you’re lucky, you may spot tortoises, lizards and other shy creatures.

Find it on Google Maps!

4. Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve

van stadens reserve

This trail is a 500 hectare floral wonderland and offers two main hiking options, the Forest walk which is about 6km and the River walk of 4km which meanders through fynbos, succulents and other indigenous flora.  The 1km Bridge Bundu Bash takes you right up to the Van Standens bridge with breat taking views across the gorge. There are a number of other offerings in the reserve including an Arboretum and cultural attractions including xhosa huts, a xhosa kraal as well as a petroglyph which is believed to be the most southerly located engraving in Africa. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy a leisurely afternoon in serene surroundings with beautiful views.  

Find it on Google Maps!

5. The Aloe Hiking Trail

aloe trail

This hiking trail is recommended for large groups of individuals.  Starting at the top of Tippers Creek Road between Amsterdamhoek and Bluewater Bay.  There are 2 hiking trails, one being only 2km marked with yellow arrows and the other is about 7 km long marked with red arrows.  The trail takes a circular route overlooking Amsterdamhoek returning through the valley bushveld.    Besides birds that attracted by the beautiful aloe plants you may see other animals along this trail such as Blue Duiker, bush pig and the Grysbok. 

Find it on Google Maps!

6. The Coastal Fynbos Trail

coastal fynbos

Starting at Sappershoek, this circular trail is about 7 km and is an inland route which makes its way through coastal fynbos as far as a cellular communications tower returning to Sappershoek overlooking the sea.  There are many interesting animals you can see on this trail like the small yellow and grey mongoose and the Cape Grysbok.  Be on the lookout for Whales and Dolphins as you walk along the trail. 

Find it on Google Maps!

7. Lady Slipper Hiking Trail

lady slipper hike

This exciting and picturesque trail will take about two hours up and down.   There is a small fee involved as well.   The trail starts on the eastern side of the mountain reserve, with a steep climb up the mountain passing head high fynbos.  About a third of the way you start seeing the breath-taking views where you can stop and take in the beautiful sight.  Before we give away all the details of the spectacular hiking trail, we would love for you to check it out for yourself.  There is also a restaurant available if you want to sit down with an ice cold drink after the hike. 

Find it on Google Maps!

Come and experience the great outdoors that Nelson Mandela Bay has to offer. From scenic fynbos trails to oceanside meanders, the Bay has so much to offer adventure seekers. If you like to explore secret pathways off the beaten track and spot shy creatures through indigenous flora, then what are you waiting for? Come and visit us!


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